Update for Doctoral Researchers
Posted on behalf of: University of Sussex
Last updated: Tuesday, 4 May 2021
On Tuesday 4 May, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise Keith Jones emailed all Postgraduate Researchers (PGRs). You can read the message in full below.
Dear Doctoral Researcher,
I’m writing with a regular update to share some information and opportunities for our postgraduate research community, including:
- Postgraduate Research Experience Survey (PRES)
- Return to campus guidance
- Support for International Doctoral Researchers
- Hardship funding and Sussex scholarship extensions
- Researcher development opportunities.
Postgraduate Research Experience Survey (PRES)
Open until 17 May, PRES is an important survey about your PhD experience. It’s the only national survey of Doctoral Researchers and so is the only way for us to benchmark how we are doing when compared with other institutions. It also makes sure that your voice is heard as we strive to make the changes that will improve Doctoral Researchers’ experience in the future.
Please check your Sussex emails for your personalised link to take part in the survey. It should only take around 15 minutes to complete. If you would like to know more, you can visit the Doctoral School website.
Return to campus guidance
You will have been updated in recent emails from Pro Vice-Chancellor Kelly Coate about the Government’s decision that the majority of students, unless invited back already, should not return to university until at least 17 May 2021.
Postgraduate researchers have been able to come onto campus for essential lab work throughout the 2021 lockdown, and this continues. Please remember to take two lateral flow tests, at least three days apart, and receive negative results for both before accessing labs on campus. We encourage you to continue regular testing after this. You can view information about the testing available on campus on the Student Hub and book tests using this link.
If carrying out necessary work on campus you should follow Covid-19 prevention advice to protect yourself and others.
All other (non-lab based) PGRs should continue working and engaging in supervision remotely. If this presents any issues for your research, please discuss this with your supervisor.
We will continue to keep you informed of changes that may impact you and your research, and your Schools will keep you updated regarding the re-opening of PhD workspaces.
Support for International Doctoral Researchers
If you have questions about being in the UK or returning to the UK, please see the most recent information on the Student Hub. In addition, our International Student Advisors can provide support and guidance – please fill in the online contact form to get in touch.
Hardship funding and Sussex scholarship extensions
As mentioned previously, Doctoral Researchers who are experiencing financial difficulties as a result of the pandemic may be able to apply to the Postgraduate Research Hardship Fund.
Research Council-funded Doctoral Researchers will have received the outcomes of the second round of scholarship extensions, and we aim to launch the second round of Sussex-funded scholarship extensions in the coming weeks. I would like to take the opportunity to thank colleagues in Research and Enterprise and the Doctoral School for the considerable work required to support these new and vital funding streams, particularly noting Amanda Britt’s continuing efforts in support of Doctoral Researchers.
Researcher development opportunities
Last week saw the launch of the 2021 Adam Weiler Doctoral Impact Award, recognising excellence in doctoral research and the potential to make positive change. Made possible thanks to a generous donation in memory of a former student, the winner will receive £1,000 towards their research and three runners-up will win £500. Researchers must be nominated by their supervisor or Director of Doctoral Studies by the 24 May deadline.
Research plans often change as a PhD progresses, but in the last year coronavirus has caused widespread disruption across academia. In the Adapting to Change blog series, the Doctoral School is interviewing PhD researchers and supervisors about the challenges they faced in 2020, and the approaches they took to tackle the issues, adapt their projects and continue their research. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to be involved.
I was also pleased to see this story about the excellent Online PhD Peer Support Groups initiated by Claire Durrant, a current doctoral researcher in the School of Education and Social Work. The initiative has attracted interest from two European universities who are keen to develop similar programmes, and I’d really encourage you to get involved and connect with other doctoral researchers.
Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise